Help with YouTube TV buffering issue

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Topic Author
investor4life
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Help with YouTube TV buffering issue

Post by investor4life »

I like YouTube TV a lot and stream it via an Apple TV 4K unit. Lately, I've noticed that it takes a couple of minutes for the channel guide to appear and then another couple minutes of buffering (the dreaded spinning circle) followed by image quality that fluctuates between 480/720/1080P for several minutes before things settle down for the evening. It can't be my Wi-Fi connection because Netflix, Hulu etc. through the same Apple TV unit work flawlessly. I have Comcast at 300 Mbps (well above the 13Mbps recommended by Google for HD video). The troubleshooting guide from Google is not helpful (basically tells me to check for software updates on the Apple device (done), restart the device (done), power-cycle the device (done)).

Any suggestions appreciated.

Thanks!
boogiehead
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Re: Help with YouTube TV buffering issue

Post by boogiehead »

Have you tried youtube tv on other devices, what are the results? Have you ran a bandwidth test to see what speeds you are getting when its having issues buffering? I would still suspect its your connection (wifi router) as Netflix/Hulu are not "live" TV so they have more leeway in terms of buffering or you might have constant dropped packets. Other than that if its truly a Youtube TV issue than you'll have to wait until they come up with a patch for the fix.
mhalley
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Re: Help with YouTube TV buffering issue

Post by mhalley »

You might try uninstalling and reinstalling the app.
mancich
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Re: Help with YouTube TV buffering issue

Post by mancich »

We've noticed this too, and have FIOS gigabit service. A little irritating after the recent price increase, though otherwise, we do like the service. No issues with Netflix or Prime Video in this regard.
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Stinky
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Re: Help with YouTube TV buffering issue

Post by Stinky »

FWIW, I have been using YTTV for almost 2 years now.

I get a lot of buffering through our Roku device during live events that are highly watched in my area. Like the Super Bowl and the televised football games of our local university. And during the Presidential debate on Tuesday night.

At other times, YTTV works without buffering.
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onourway
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Re: Help with YouTube TV buffering issue

Post by onourway »

There is a Speedtest app you can install on the AppleTV. What are the results of that test (including ping jitter and loss?)

How are you connected - wifi or Ethernet? If wifi, what kind of access point and how far between it and the ATV?
MDfan
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Re: Help with YouTube TV buffering issue

Post by MDfan »

onourway wrote: Thu Oct 01, 2020 5:25 am There is a Speedtest app you can install on the AppleTV. What are the results of that test (including ping jitter and loss?)

How are you connected - wifi or Ethernet? If wifi, what kind of access point and how far between it and the ATV?
We have Fios 200 mbps (router in bedroom in basement) and we were getting somewhere around 30-40 mbps on first floor and second floor. We had definite issues with YTTV streaming and picture quality. Installed the eero mesh wifi system (about $250) and the difference has been night and day. Now getting speeds much closer to 200mbps throughout the house and picture quality is much improved.
cusetownusa
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Re: Help with YouTube TV buffering issue

Post by cusetownusa »

I have been noticing the same issues lately, as well as some people I know. I would like to know of a solution as well. I Haven't tried uninstalling and reinstalling the app yet.
bloom2708
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Re: Help with YouTube TV buffering issue

Post by bloom2708 »

What are your cable modem and wireless router?

One or both might need a refresh.
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cusetownusa
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Re: Help with YouTube TV buffering issue

Post by cusetownusa »

bloom2708 wrote: Thu Oct 01, 2020 6:37 am What are your cable modem and wireless router?

One or both might need a refresh.
I have an Orbi mesh system that seems to work great. No buffering issues with anything else that we stream.
arf30
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Re: Help with YouTube TV buffering issue

Post by arf30 »

Have noticed similar issues lately (gigabit connection with ethernet into a Shield TV), I think it's probably a capacity issue on YouTube TV's side.
user5027
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Re: Help with YouTube TV buffering issue

Post by user5027 »

I like Youtube TV and use it across several devices (android tablet & phone, windows 10 pc's, insignia tv with built-in roku and a dynex tv with a roku stick).

I had buffering problems with an older tablet. Replaced it and now I rarely have any buffering issues and never on the tv's. The Youtube TV menus do load slower on the insignia tv with built-in roku. That tv was a "hand me up" from my son when he got a new 4k(?). I suspect the roku is an older version. The dynex has a newer stick and is faster.

I have occasionally had problems playing some recordings. Sent a message to Youtube TV and they replied and apologized there was nothing they could do. A few hours later, recordings played fine. :?
rockstar
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Re: Help with YouTube TV buffering issue

Post by rockstar »

What's your bufferbloat looking like? One easy way to check is go to the Netflix Fast speed test site and look at your latency numbers. What do they look like? Are they around 20ms or lower?

If it's not bufferbloat, then how effective are your local DNS cache servers?

I recommend using this software to assess: https://www.grc.com/dns/benchmark.htm
Topic Author
investor4life
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Re: Help with YouTube TV buffering issue

Post by investor4life »

Thanks for all the replies. Answers to some of the questions raised:

* Access point: Motorola MT7711 cable modem + AC1900 WiFi router. (Link). One year old.

* Location: On 2nd floor. Apple TV device on main level connected to nearby Samsung TV via HDMI cable. Streaming via Wi-Fi.

* Speedtest.net results (via app downloaded to Apple TV): 79 Mbps down, 11 Mbps up; jitter 6.2 ms, ping 18 ms, loss 0%. Did this in middle of the day when traffic is likely low. Will repeat in the evening when buffering issues crop up.

* Speed test via fast.com (not sure how to do this directly on Apple TV; did on iphone while standing near the Apple TV as a crude "approximation"): 120 Mbps down, 10 Mbps up; latency 27 ms (unloaded), 37 ms (loaded).

* Checking effectiveness of local DNS servers (as suggested by @rockstar): Haven't done this yet.

* Reinstalling YTTV app: Haven't tried this. As I recall, it came native with the Apple TV so I did not even have to install it.
onourway
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Re: Help with YouTube TV buffering issue

Post by onourway »

Sounds good. Definitely test again at a time when you are experiencing the issues.

Note that if you have multiple users in the house, multiple devices accessing the wifi at the same time can also cause slowdowns even if you have plenty of bandwidth available to the outside world.

Lastly, you can get much more detailed information on your connection speed and buffer size direct to the YTTV servers by using the Stats for Nerds feature as explained here https://www.reddit.com/r/youtubetv/comm ... stats_for/
rich126
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Re: Help with YouTube TV buffering issue

Post by rich126 »

Probably not your situation but household devices can interfere with Wifi depending on the frequency being used. Often routers now will support 2.4G and 5GHz but more devices still use 2.4G. At that frequency sometimes a microwave, baby monitor, etc. can interfere.

If you have a laptop there is a free tool called NetSpot that you can use to walk around the house and check signal strengths. They also have paid versions but you shouldn't need that.

Sometimes when I fast forward in you tube tv there is a slight delay but generally talking seconds and definitely not minutes.
Topic Author
investor4life
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Re: Help with YouTube TV buffering issue

Post by investor4life »

rich126 wrote: Thu Oct 01, 2020 1:55 pm Probably not your situation but household devices can interfere with Wifi depending on the frequency being used. Often routers now will support 2.4G and 5GHz but more devices still use 2.4G. At that frequency sometimes a microwave, baby monitor, etc. can interfere.

If you have a laptop there is a free tool called NetSpot that you can use to walk around the house and check signal strengths. They also have paid versions but you shouldn't need that.

Sometimes when I fast forward in you tube tv there is a slight delay but generally talking seconds and definitely not minutes.
Thanks! My cable modem/router is dual band and (as far as I can tell from the manual and reading online) switches automatically between 2.4GHz and 5GHz as needed (both use the same SSID).
bloom2708
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Re: Help with YouTube TV buffering issue

Post by bloom2708 »

investor4life wrote: Thu Oct 01, 2020 2:34 pm
rich126 wrote: Thu Oct 01, 2020 1:55 pm Probably not your situation but household devices can interfere with Wifi depending on the frequency being used. Often routers now will support 2.4G and 5GHz but more devices still use 2.4G. At that frequency sometimes a microwave, baby monitor, etc. can interfere.

If you have a laptop there is a free tool called NetSpot that you can use to walk around the house and check signal strengths. They also have paid versions but you shouldn't need that.

Sometimes when I fast forward in you tube tv there is a slight delay but generally talking seconds and definitely not minutes.
Thanks! My cable modem/router is dual band and (as far as I can tell from the manual and reading online) switches automatically between 2.4GHz and 5GHz as needed (both use the same SSID).
Are you using the Combo modem / router and your Orbi Mesh system together? Using Orbi as an extender?

I would disable the built in router and use your Orbi Mesh system. Placement can be tricky for best signal. If multiple stories, put modem and router on top floor, other Orbi units on lower floors. Center in the house and signal cascades down.
"We are here to provoke thoughtfulness, not agree with you." Unknown Boglehead
Topic Author
investor4life
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Re: Help with YouTube TV buffering issue

Post by investor4life »

That'd be another user (@cusetownusa). I don't have a mesh wifi/extender system (though that may be the next step if this issue persists).
Topic Author
investor4life
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Re: Help with YouTube TV buffering issue

Post by investor4life »

bloom2708 wrote: Thu Oct 01, 2020 3:17 pm
investor4life wrote: Thu Oct 01, 2020 2:34 pm
rich126 wrote: Thu Oct 01, 2020 1:55 pm Probably not your situation but household devices can interfere with Wifi depending on the frequency being used. Often routers now will support 2.4G and 5GHz but more devices still use 2.4G. At that frequency sometimes a microwave, baby monitor, etc. can interfere.

If you have a laptop there is a free tool called NetSpot that you can use to walk around the house and check signal strengths. They also have paid versions but you shouldn't need that.

Sometimes when I fast forward in you tube tv there is a slight delay but generally talking seconds and definitely not minutes.
Thanks! My cable modem/router is dual band and (as far as I can tell from the manual and reading online) switches automatically between 2.4GHz and 5GHz as needed (both use the same SSID).
Are you using the Combo modem / router and your Orbi Mesh system together? Using Orbi as an extender?

I would disable the built in router and use your Orbi Mesh system. Placement can be tricky for best signal. If multiple stories, put modem and router on top floor, other Orbi units on lower floors. Center in the house and signal cascades down.
That'd be another user (@cusetownusa). I don't have a mesh wifi/extender system (though that may be the next step if this issue persists).
bloom2708
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Re: Help with YouTube TV buffering issue

Post by bloom2708 »

investor4life wrote: Thu Oct 01, 2020 3:24 pm That'd be another user (@cusetownusa). I don't have a mesh wifi/extender system (though that may be the next step if this issue persists).
Ah yes. Sorry mixed up users.

I will say that all cable modems are not created equally. Do a little reading about 32 x 8 channel modems. Maximizing throughput.

The combo modem/routers usually get poor reviews. They seem to do things marginally well and tend to have more issues.

I'm close to upgrading my Google Wifi system to Google Nest. I might wait for vnext Google Nest.

I have a new Arris 32x8 channel cable modem (DOCSIS 3.1). Google Wifi has been excellent but it is AC1200 vs AC2200. Nest is faster.

It is kind of a mess to stay "current". We are definitely pushing our home wifi networks with work at home and school and all the new streaming high resolution.
"We are here to provoke thoughtfulness, not agree with you." Unknown Boglehead
Housedoc
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Re: Help with YouTube TV buffering issue

Post by Housedoc »

On your Samsung TV, if purchased in the last few years, you can download the YTTV app directly to the TV and bypass Apple box. I have a Samsung that also has a Roku on it. The Samsung app of YTTV seems to run smoothly. Roku not bad either. Using 5ghz wireless connection to a 2 yr old router. Spectrum 100 meg with actual download of 65meg on tv when testing via Samsung wireless network test. If it only happens during busy times of the day and never before 6am or after 11pm it's probably YTTV servers you are working off of. I am in the southeast and notice no buffering.
Topic Author
investor4life
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Re: Help with YouTube TV buffering issue

Post by investor4life »

OP again, with the evening report as promised.

Well... it's baaack! (The buffering, I mean.)

My Apple TV Speedtest app (which earlier in the day clocked in at 79 Mbps down, 11 Mbps up; jitter 6.2 ms, ping 18 ms, loss 0%) is now showing 1.8 (yes one.point.eight) Mbps down, 1.3 Mbps up, jitter 54 ms, ping 25 ms, and loss 0.36%. This is while watching live TV on YTTV.

Something weird is going on with the Apple TV...the wifi on my other devices is doing fine.
onourway
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Re: Help with YouTube TV buffering issue

Post by onourway »

Well that would certainly do it.

Do you have other members of the household using devices at this time? Or do you live in an apartment or similar with lots of neighbors in close proximity?

What does your phone get in this location? What does the phone get closer to the access point?
inbox788
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Re: Help with YouTube TV buffering issue

Post by inbox788 »

investor4life wrote: Thu Oct 01, 2020 7:25 pm OP again, with the evening report as promised.

Well... it's baaack! (The buffering, I mean.)

My Apple TV Speedtest app (which earlier in the day clocked in at 79 Mbps down, 11 Mbps up; jitter 6.2 ms, ping 18 ms, loss 0%) is now showing 1.8 (yes one.point.eight) Mbps down, 1.3 Mbps up, jitter 54 ms, ping 25 ms, and loss 0.36%. This is while watching live TV on YTTV.

Something weird is going on with the Apple TV...the wifi on my other devices is doing fine.
Channel and band? Could it be interference from a neighbor or electronic device? Switch the channel or band and see if it's any better.

Are you on 2.4GHz or 5GHz?

What's the distance from router to AppleTV? How many feet and how many walls (straight line)? Can you bring them closer for a test to see if it improves?
Dottie57
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Re: Help with YouTube TV buffering issue

Post by Dottie57 »

When I get buffering problems I unplug AppleTV and plug back in 5 seconds later. 2/3rds of the time it helps.
Dottie57
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Re: Help with YouTube TV buffering issue

Post by Dottie57 »

When I get buffering problems I unplug AppleTV and plug back in 5 seconds later. 2/3rds of the time it helps.
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investor4life
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Re: Help with YouTube TV buffering issue

Post by investor4life »

We are in a 2-story suburban single family home. Just DW and I and neither is/was doing any heavy-duty internet stuff. Nearest neighboring house is about 100 feet away. Apple TV is one floor below the cable modem, with two sheet-rocked and insulated walls in between. (Straight-line distance to modem is about 30 feet.) Phone reads 110 Mbps near the Apple TV.

Yes, I have noticed that disconnecting the Apple TV and plugging it back in after a few minutes helps (for a while).

Thank you all for your informed input.

ETA: the cable modem is dual band (2.4 and 5 GHz) and I believe it automatically selects the best band (both have the same SSID and password). This is based on a reading of the modem manual and searching online.
onourway
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Re: Help with YouTube TV buffering issue

Post by onourway »

If the phone is getting good connection in the same location as the TV when the TV has a bad connection, I’m going to guess that this is an issue with which band the TV is holding on to. Many low to mid-range (and sometimes even high-end) access points don’t do a good job of managing which band client devices are connected to. Re-booting the device forces it to re-connect, and it will often, at that point, be connected to the better band.

If you can run Ethernet to this area, the problem would be solved. If that’s not easy to do, then a MOCA adapter would be an option if you have coax nearby, or alternatively, upgrade to a mesh wifi system which will improve coverage for all devices over a wider area.
Topic Author
investor4life
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Re: Help with YouTube TV buffering issue

Post by investor4life »

onourway wrote: Fri Oct 02, 2020 6:13 am If the phone is getting good connection in the same location as the TV when the TV has a bad connection, I’m going to guess that this is an issue with which band the TV is holding on to. Many low to mid-range (and sometimes even high-end) access points don’t do a good job of managing which band client devices are connected to. Re-booting the device forces it to re-connect, and it will often, at that point, be connected to the better band.

If you can run Ethernet to this area, the problem would be solved. If that’s not easy to do, then a MOCA adapter would be an option if you have coax nearby, or alternatively, upgrade to a mesh wifi system which will improve coverage for all devices over a wider area.
Thank you! I may have to go with a mesh Wi-Fi or MOCA adapter. I had not heard of the latter but it sounds real interesting. I must say that I am constantly impressed by the expertise (both financial and otherwise) in this group, as well as the willingness to help. Much-obliged!
inbox788
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Re: Help with YouTube TV buffering issue

Post by inbox788 »

investor4life wrote: Thu Oct 01, 2020 9:54 pmETA: the cable modem is dual band (2.4 and 5 GHz) and I believe it automatically selects the best band (both have the same SSID and password). This is based on a reading of the modem manual and searching online.
Try shutting down one of the bands and see if that makes any difference, particularly the 5GHz. I have a router where the 5GHz works well in the same room, but any distance or walls give it trouble. And while it's supposed to automatically find the best frequencies to use, it's not doing it. Now with a single router or device, you don't know which is to blame, but I've encountered it with many devices. They have different SSID, and sometimes same password, other times different (to knock off some devices off a band). The 5GHz SSID has been the issue so much that it's now seldom used and most devices around the home don't know it's there.
onourway wrote: Fri Oct 02, 2020 6:13 amI’m going to guess that this is an issue with which band the TV is holding on to. Many low to mid-range (and sometimes even high-end) access points don’t do a good job of managing which band client devices are connected to. Re-booting the device forces it to re-connect, and it will often, at that point, be connected to the better band.
That's consistent with the problem I'm experiencing.
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investor4life
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Re: Help with YouTube TV buffering issue

Post by investor4life »

So, I may have figured out the problem. The ATV buffered as soon as DW started the microwave (about 20 feet away). I started the Speedtest app on the ATV and was able to see the speed drop waaay down whenever the microwave started up and then go right back up when it stopped. Our live TV watching coincides with dinner prep so everything seems to make sense. (We watch Netflix etc after dinner so no microwave issue there.)

Now I need to figure out how to shield the ATV from the microwave...

Thoughts?
ossipago
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Re: Help with YouTube TV buffering issue

Post by ossipago »

In that case, try disabling the 2.4 GHz network. Microwave ovens emit into the 2.4 band. In fact, that band was designated to accommodate emissions from industrial, medical, and scientific equipment such as microwave ovens before being opened up to unlicensed communications. The 5 GHz band is also such a band but should be less susceptible to microwave ovens in particular.
onourway
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Re: Help with YouTube TV buffering issue

Post by onourway »

That will certainly do it!

Without a more robust wifi configuration, disabling 2.4Ghz entirely might well make things worse overall, as 5Ghz has much poorer range. I suppose you might as well give it a try and see how it works in your specific configuration though.

The options suggested above still stand - any one of them will fix the issue.
dukeblue219
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Re: Help with YouTube TV buffering issue

Post by dukeblue219 »

It's also plausible that your microwave is emitting more than it should. Not worth the hassle of trying to diagnose that, but if you were planning to update your kitchen anyway....
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dziuniek
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Re: Help with YouTube TV buffering issue

Post by dziuniek »

Can you try watching youtube TV on your laptop? Are you getting the same speed/latency issues?
That's one check.

Additionally... how old is the tv? Sometimes the tv apps lose support after a while.

If you've checked everything elses, might as well try.
Topic Author
investor4life
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Re: Help with YouTube TV buffering issue

Post by investor4life »

Thanks all. I'll probably not play around with the bands right now. WFH is pretty intense for both DW and I these days and I don't want to mess anything up :) Easier to ensure that microwave usage and TV watching don't overlap too much.

The microwave is just 6 months old actually (an LG) and so is the ATV (both bought during the pandemic). The TV is about 5 years old but that can't be the issue since it is simply the recipient of the stream from the ATV (via HDMI). And, yes, I can watch YTTV and do everything else on a laptop/phone while the microwave is running.

I'm just glad that the problem seems to have been identified with some certainty and is fairly easy to live with.

Thanks again to all.
zlandar
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Re: Help with YouTube TV buffering issue

Post by zlandar »

You could hard-wire your ATV to your router. I assume your router is next to your modem. If your ATV is next to a working cable outlet you can buy a pair of MOCA adapters like this:

https://smile.amazon.com/MOTOROLA-Adapt ... 161&sr=8-5

Ethernet is best but it's not always practical.
rockstar
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Re: Help with YouTube TV buffering issue

Post by rockstar »

zlandar wrote: Sat Oct 03, 2020 10:18 am You could hard-wire your ATV to your router. I assume your router is next to your modem. If your ATV is next to a working cable outlet you can buy a pair of MOCA adapters like this:

https://smile.amazon.com/MOTOROLA-Adapt ... 161&sr=8-5

Ethernet is best but it's not always practical.
They could also try ethernet over power. This is simple to setup.

https://www.amazon.com/Powerline-Ethern ... 217&sr=8-3
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